Big match preview: Cheltenham v Imps

Lincoln City travel to Cheltenham Town this weekend with the aim of going 15 points clear of the relegation zone. That would make the Imps, who are unbeaten in six league games, all but safe from the drop with seven games left to play.

But a win will not come easily, even at 22nd placed Cheltenham. The Robins have shown improved performances recently. Before losing 1-0 at Macclesfield last time out, Mark Yates’ side recorded a credible 1-1 draw against Port Vale. That was, of course, preceded by the astounding 6-5 victory away to Burton Albion, in which Cheltenham scored two goals in injury time to steal the points.

Lincoln travel to Whaddon Road in high spirits after six games without defeat. Photo: Laurence Horton via Flickr

That resilience is likely to come in useful in the next month. The Gloucestershire club play seven games in April — a crammed month not dissimilar to that of the Imps’ February. Their penultimate game of the month sees them take on Darlington, which is their solitary game in hand over current relegation zone occupants Grimsby Town.

The Imps’ season may be petering out into mid-table mediocrity, but manager Chris Sutton will not want his team to take their foot off the pedal. After extending the loan of Davide Somma, Sutton will expect his team to carry on their excellent form and push for a respectable finish of around 16th place.

Lincoln should be unchanged from last weekend’s draw with Northampton. Chris Herd slotted back into central midfield effortlessly after his suspension and he will start alongside club veteran Scott Kerr, who has opened discussions about a new contract at Sincil Bank. With a defensive Armageddon still engulfing Sincil Bank, Paul Green should continue at centre back alongside Moses Swaibu.

Luckily for the Imps, Cheltenham do not offer a stern attacking threat. Despite the freak six goals they dispatched past Burton a few weeks ago, the Robins have scored more than one goal in a game just one other time since the turn of the year.

Mark Yates is unlikely to make too many changes to the team that played Macclesfield last week. Cheltenham deserved at least a point at Moss Rose, but a clanger from goalkeeper Scott Brown just two minutes from time meant that they left the North West with nothing.

Josh Low and Ashley Eastham returned from injury in that game, and they should continue to take their places in the starting line-up. Medy Elito, one of six loan players at Whaddon Road, will look to use his trickery to threaten down the left hand flank.

The Linc prediction: Cheltenham 1 Imps 2

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